Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Trump administration takes another swipe at 'Obamacare'

Trump administration takes another swipe at 'Obamacare'

President Donald Trump's administration is freezing billions of dollars in payments to health insurers under the Affordable Care Act's risk adjustment program.

The move comes after a federal judge ruled that the Obama administration's formula calculating the payments was flawed and inadequately justified by regulators, according to the Journal.

The court's ruling bars the agency from collecting or making payments under the current methodology, which uses a statewide average premium, said CMS, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The administration has made several other moves in recent years to scale back or halt implementation of certain aspects of the ACA, without replacing it with a better health plan, which was a Trump campaign promise. In a statement America's Health Insurance Plans, the trade association for health insurance companies, said they are "very discouraged by the new market disruption brought about by the decision to freeze risk adjustment payments".

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"This decision will have serious consequences for millions of consumers who get their coverage through small businesses or buy coverage on their own".

The Affordable Care Act's (ACA) "risk adjustment" program is meant to incentivize health insurers to cover individuals with pre-existing and chronic conditions by collecting money from insurers with relatively healthy enrollees to offset the costs of other insurers with sicker ones.

"This action will significantly increase 2019 premiums for millions of individuals and small business owners and could result in far fewer health plan choices", Serota said in a statement.

The Trump administration has halted billions of dollars of Obamacare payments to insurers due to a court ruling.

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The pro-ACA group Protect Our Care issued a statement from its executive director, Brad Woodhouse, Saturday after the administration announced its decision regarding risk penalty payments, characterizing the move as further chipping away at the Affordable Care Act.

The main insurers' lobby said it will need to see a quick resolution to avoid bigger price hikes next year - and a bigger tab for taxpayers who subsidize qualified customers in the program's web-based exchanges. To do that, the government collects money from health insurers with enrollees who were healthier and as a result "cost less to insure".

FILE PHOTO: A man fills out an information card during an Affordable Care Act outreach event hosted by Planned Parenthood for the Latino community in Los Angeles, California September 28, 2013.

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